View topic - When to be polite
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- Joined: Tue 08.21.2007 9:33 pm
I kinda don't understand the difference between when you should use more polite phrases and when you don't have too. I'm thinking if you don't know them well then you use polite language and when you do know them well (such as first name bases) you don't have to use polite language. I am not sure but is that right?
From what I've seen, jboix, I don't think that's a question that can be easily answered. Polite language and informal language are used based on different things, like social situation, familiarity with your speaker, social position, etc. You might use one level of politeness with your boss (obviously more polite), another with a coworker, another with a friend (more informal), another with children, another with strangers you don't know, and still another if you enjoy goading people into beating you up.
The "when in doubt, use formal language" maxim is a good idea, I think. Perhaps someone better at Japanese than me could give you a bit more detail though.
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- Joined: Sun 10.15.2006 12:12 am
With children, you can pretty much get away with using nonformal speech, unless there is a ceremony going on. It's a bit of a give and take condition sometimes.
personally, I always waited for my counterpart to use a lower form of speech before I ever tried to use it. And even then I would usually wait until they asked my why I was still utlizing keigo or other formal speech. Better to be safe than sorry in my opinion.
In the military, speech is dictated by rank. There is no exception. you speak keigo to your senior ranking individuals and non-formal to your subordinates. Pretty straight forward there.
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But that's probably a bit above what you're asking. The safe thing is just to be "normally" polite, and rank up to keigo when you talk to someone who is obviously more important than you.
Also keep in mind that because you're a foreigner, you get a lot of leeway. A polite personality will take you a lot further than a crapy personality with keigo.
Ippatsu // Japanesetesting.com
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Some things to consider. You can be extremely gentle and polite using direct, casual style Japanese. You can also really give someone an earful using distal, polite speech.
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